09/30/2001 11:00PM

Woodlands opens for mixed meet


The Woodlands Race Track in Kansas City, Kansas, which has been working to win legislative approval for slot machines since Missouri riverboat casino owner William Grace bought the horse and dog racing plant at a bankruptcy auction in 1998, opens for 26 days of Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing on Wednesday. The meet runs through Nov. 4.

The Woodlands, which consists of two separate facilities for horse and dog racing, was built by Hollywood Park subsidiary Sunflower Racing Inc. The track opened in May 1990, and had filed for bankruptcy by 1996 following the passage of riverboat casino gaming in neighboring Missouri in 1994.

Kansas Racing, Co., a group headed by Grace, bought the track for $7.5 million in 1998. Since then, the new ownership, like Sunflower Racing before it, has worked to win slots at the track. The issue comes up for another vote before the state Legislature in January.

The Woodlands, which last year reported its first increase in annual handle since 1990, will race on a Wednesday through Sunday basis this meet, with a holiday card set for this Monday, Columbus Day. Trials for the Grade 2, $40,000-added Kansas Quarter Horse Futurity highlight the 10-race opening day card. The 350-yard finale is to be run Oct. 13.

Other stakes of note this season include the Grade 2, $50,000-added Kansas Jackpot Quarter Horse Futurity on Nov 4; two divisions of the Kansas Thoroughbred Association Futurity on Oct. 5-6; the $20,000 Woodlands Thoroughbred Derby on Oct. 27; and the $20,000 Woodlands Thoroughbred Handicap on Nov. 4.

Daily purses will average about $66,000 a program, about the same as in 2000.